Bluebird Care York has praised one of its frontline care workers for transforming the life of a woman living with schizophrenia.
The provider’s client, Kath, wouldn’t speak to her carers, friends or family when she was having a psychotic episode and had become increasingly isolated, lonely and depressed.
“She would just go to bed and become very low. It made caring for her very difficult at times, as she wouldn’t let us in, or answer the phone,” said Bluebird Care York registered manager Yvonne Oxendale.
Then, two years ago, Dave joined the franchise and became Kath’s main carer. It troubled him that Kath was shutting himself off from her friends and family and began to think of ways that she could communicate without speaking face to face or over the phone.
Kath, who is in her early 60s, had also suffered a stroke, which left her with one-sided weakness and slurred speech.
Dave spoke to her about using a tablet to communicate with her loved ones and she agreed to give it a go.
“Dave brought his own tablet to show Kath how she could use it, and after trying it for herself, she said she would like to get her tablet, so they went to buy one together,” said Oxendale.
The carer took time to set Kath up on Facebook to enable her to stay in touch with friends and family, taught her how to shop online and helped her create an online bank account so she could take control of her finances.
Gradually, Dave persuaded Kath to go out shopping, to the hairdressers and out for tea and cake.
“This has built her confidence massively and she now comes to our monthly craft class,” said Oxendale. “It is no exaggeration to say this has changed her life.”
Praising Dave and the rest of the Bluebird Care York team, Kath’s sister said: “I would like to say a huge thank you for the way your team look after my sister Kath. The support given to her after our Mum’s death was wonderful.
“I’d like to say a special thank you to Dave, who has changed her life for the better. He’s enabled her to communicate regularly by phone and social media with the rest of the family, which was not happening before. Dave goes out with her by taxi to the shops, appointments and to visit cafes. This has made a huge difference to her happiness and sense of wellbeing. We appreciate the way he has taken the time and effort to get Kath where she is today.”
Kath said she is now very happy. “I’ve got good contact with my family and Dave has helped me find lost family. I can look at pictures on Facebook and I’ve got Alexa. I can have music or ask what day it is or tell her off,” she said, laughing. “I can leave messages on Facebook. Dave helps me with all sorts.”
Speaking about his experience of caring for Kath, Dave said: “I’m very proud of what Kath has achieved and knowing that Kath is in a much better place, both in her well-being and in her mental health. I just love doing what I’m doing.”
Oxendale added: “We at Bluebird care are so proud of Dave who has literally turned Kath’s life around. He was a finalist at the Bluebird Care Awards last year and he is now our ‘digital champion’, teaching some of our other customers how to use technology. I wish we could clone him!”
Bluebird Care York shared this story as part of HCI’s Good Care News series, which aims to highlight the important contribution that care workers make to society.
If you are a home care provider and want to share a Good Care News story about one of your team members with HCI, please contact Sarah Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include an example of how your staff member has improved the lives of a client(s) by going the extra mile.
Caption: Dave with his Bluebird Care finalist award, and Kath at Bluebird Care York’s craft class.